Russian payment service provider Qiwi has registered all domain names such as bitrouble.com, bitrouble.org, bitru.rf, and bitrub.li, according to the Russian newspaper “Kommersant.”
This is good news for cybersquatters who may earn millions of rubles on domains containing a semblance to “BitRouble.” One such domain is "bitrubl.rf" whose price may reach 1 million Rubles, according to domain names investor Pavel Gross-Dneprov.
Qiwi has also tried to register similar domain names in .ru and .rf. “However, it turned out that they are already registered,” the article continues. “And the company has sent out requests to buy these domains from their owners."
Gross-Dneprov also explained in the interview with "Kommersant" that the majority of these "bitruble" domains were registered by cybersquatters soon after the project was announced.
He criticized Qiwi for not preparing for this scenario, saying:
"Qiwi should have spent about 10,000 RUB to register all possible domains with words ‘bitruble’ in all popular domain zones before the announcement. Now the company will have to buy them from cybersquatters and pay at least €10,000 or try to sue them in court.”
According to Gross Dneprov, companies must focus on the registering domains in Cyrillic for Russian-speaking regions. "The English spelling of the word ‘bitrouble’ for many people in Russia is not obvious," he explained.
The next step for Qiwi should be buying the ‘BitRouble’ trademark. Qiwi notes that this process is already underway, though the Federal Service of Intellectual Property Rospatent's databases currently have no information to confirm this claim.
Despite some officials reacting with strong criticism against the "BitRuble" project reminding that issuing any other currency besides the ruble is prohibited in Russia, Qiwi has continued to develop the project amid reports that the Central Bank has given it the green light.